Off The Written Path

Entries from February 2011

Crowdsourcing in Libya Aids Traditional Media

February 27th, 2011 · No Comments

Videos, pictures and news of the uprising in Libya are making it out of the country, but the images are not all coming from traditional media. A post in Mashable by Radhika Marya tells of how crowdsourcing is providing traditional outlets, like CNN, with some of their coverage of the Libyan uprising.

I have noticed that the Libyan revolt has not been as visible in the media as the revolution in Egypt. International journalists don’t seem to have the same kind of access to the Libyan people as they did in Egypt. But crowdsourcing is clearing the obstacles standing in the way of traditional media outlets.

“One Day on Earth,” a collaborative video project on the web, is now serving as a resource for news from Libya. Members of the One Day on Earth community have provided videos, news and photos about the uprising. 

 Brandon Litman, executive producer for the project, is quoted in the Mashable story as saying:

 “Social media, local filmmakers and citizens armed with cameras are a key source of information in today’s media, especially in situations like what is happening in Libya and the Middle East.”

According to the Mashable article Litman believes social media, such as crowdsourcing, can “knock down the walls” that traditional media faces. 

I saw in CNN that some international journalists were invited into Tripoli by Libyan officials. Such a situation easily lends itself to spin, with officials restricting the places journalists can go to or only taking them to places they want people to see (although the move seemed to have backfired in this particular case).   

In this instance it seems that crowdsourcing rises to the top as a direct link to the people of Libya, serving to help tell the story of the Libyan people without the regime spin.

Tags: Tech Blog Posts

‘JournalismNext’ Chapter 6 Summary

February 24th, 2011 · No Comments

Photos are powerful storytelling tools.
U.S. Army photo by Antonieta Rico.


        Brevity is part of the ABC’s of journalistic writing, and what could be more succinct than using a photo to tell your story? In Chapter 6 of “Journalism Next” Mark Briggs says that “journalism without photographs is like writing without verbs.” 

        Photos are famously “worth a thousand words” but don’t forget the credit. That is, Briggs cautions against ever using a photo without the proper rights to the image. He suggests you ask first. Or you could check out Creative Commons for images licensed by the creators for sharing, so long as the artist is given credit.

        Briggs gives an overview of photography by covering the following topics: 

  • Basic information about digital photography

Digital photography allows almost anyone to be a photographer. Familiarize yourself with the type of camera that can fulfill your needs and then get to know your camera. Learn the camera functions, read the manual.  

  • How to take a good photo

Good photos don’t just happen. Lots of practice and patience goes into making a photo. People should consider composition and lighting. Get close to your subjects and think creatively in how you approach a subject to be photographed.  

  • How to edit and manage photos on your computer

Once you have captured your images you need to get them on your computer. Learn to have an organized workflow. How will you label your photos and where will you save them?  Find photo editing software and edit your photos, keeping in mind that for photojournalism you cannot manipulate or alter a photo in a way that changes the original scene.    

  • How to publish photos and slide shows that tell the story

Finally you should decide which photos you will use and how you will present them “for maximum impact” Briggs says. Consider photo size, and layout design. Will you create a slide show or a gallery? Will you publish photos in a blog? Just remember what Briggs says, “Blogs without art are lame.”  


Tags: Journalism Next by Mark Briggs

TBD Discontinued

February 24th, 2011 · No Comments

I was sad to read in that TBD has basically come to an end.

 Washington City Paper quoted Erik Wemple, TBD editor, as saying “TBD will become a niche site on arts and entertainment.”

 Mallary Jean Tenore also says in her story that Mandy Jenkins, who spoke to our class recently, is one of the people who lost her position at TBD.

Although I’m sorry to hear Mandy will no longer be working at TBD I’m excited to see what her next project will be. In class she came across as an innovative self-starter and I can’t wait to see what what she does next.

Tags: Tech Blog Posts

‘JournalismNext’ Chapter 5 Summary

February 22nd, 2011 · No Comments

Photo by Daniel Zanetti

        Another ingredient in the recipe for feeding an audience’s insatiable need for instant news can be found by “going mobile,” so says Mark Briggs in Chapter 5 of “JournalismNext.”

        Going mobile allows a reporter to provide immediate multimedia storytelling as a news-worthy event happens, from the location where it is happening. All you need is your phone, or in the case of “gearhead” journalists a mobile back pack that acts as your office. Mobile reporting includes print, video, photo and audio aspects, which can be done with the latest cell phones in the market, according to Briggs.  

        However, not all stories lend themselves to mobile reporting says Briggs. Before deciding to file a story on the go, journalists should consider if it is the right story for a mobile format. Briggs says if it is a breaking news story where timeliness is imperative then it is probably a good ‘mobile’ story to report.

        According to Briggs other stories that lend themselves to mobile reporting are:

  • Criminal and civil trials
  • Important speeches or announcements by public officials, celebrities, and business leaders
  • Most breaking news events
  • Public gatherings
  • Grand openings

        Briggs reminds journalists, though, that all events covered should be guided by the reporter’s news sense, and not to do mobile reporting for its own sake.

        Mobile reporting is fast and furious, and it does not replace in-depth reporting. Chapter 5 says that mobile reporting is a bit like filing headlines; it is a teaser to more in-depth coverage, not a replacement for it.

Tags: Journalism Next by Mark Briggs

Cool Guide for Facebook Profile Design

February 15th, 2011 · No Comments

Mashable has a cool post by Amy-Mae Elliott on ways to jazz up your Facebook profile. I tried one and this is the result: 


For step-by-step directions visit the original guide at The Telegraph.

What are your ideas for using this look on your Facebook profile? How can this design be incorporated on a professional profile? Post your experiments in the comments section.

Tags: Tech Blog Posts